[The auction for this Significant Object, with story by Maud Newton, has ended. Original price: 59 cents. Final price: $24.50.]
This astonishing “Cracker Barrel” artifact appears to be a souvenir of modern vintage, representing a down-home North American restaurant-and-country-store chain that upholds Christian values by refusing to hire gay people. In fact, the object dates to the Bronze Age and was unearthed last week in the vicinity of the Dead Sea, on what is believed by several prominent archaeologists to be the site of the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Alongside the artifact lay a charred cuneiform tablet that listed all five towns of the Pentapolis (Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar) that were destroyed by the Lord with fire and brimstone while Lot and his family fled.
As scholars at the site quickly translated the tablet, they discovered a parable that directly contradicted the reasons given in Genesis for the devastation God wreaked on the inhabitants of those late, sinful cities. The Sodomites, in this account, were punished not for gay sex, but for failing to offer the proper hospitality to several strangers, who were homosexual men, and for trying to force their daughters on the men. The Sodomites had barred the visitors from their homes, bars, and restaurants, engaged in discriminatory hiring practices, and invented and frequently employed the insult “faygele.” Same-sex unions, under any name, were prohibited.
Enraged that the people had apparently failed to apprehend the full meaning of the rainbow promise he had made to Noah after the flood, the Lord waved His hand. Volcanic lava rained down, killing everyone but Lot and his family — and a few Cracker Barrel employees, who escaped, carrying this artifact with them.
On initial inspection, strange markings on the underside of the cuneiform tablet appeared to tie the Cracker Barrel escapees to The Illuminati, but this linkage could not be verified, for, although it was handled with utmost care and in accordance with the strictest archaeological preservation methods, the tablet turned to salt the moment the initial transcription was complete. Then a ram began to baa nearby, its horn caught in a bush. Seconds later a rainbow appeared in the sky. Fundamentalist groups in the United States have now denounced the rainbow as a sign of the End Times. They continue to frequent Cracker Barrel, however.
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“Volcanic lava rained down, killing everyone but Lot and his family — and a few Cracker Barrel employees…”
That cracks me up for some reason!
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Yeah, I really enjoyed that line, too.
By the way, I once did a Q&A (for the Boston Globe) with David G. Myers, professor of psychology at Hope College, a Christian liberal arts college in Holland, Mich., and Letha Dawson Scanzoni, a Christian author and scholar based in Norfolk, Va., about gay marriage… and they tended to agree with the opinions expressed in this story!
Josh, I’m not surprised he agreed! Great article and its as valid now as it was 5 years ago when it was written. Thanks for this.